Who is the one per­son you can always count on to go for a hike when­ev­er you feel like it? Well, it’s not a per­son. It’s man’s best friend: your dog. A fit, healthy dog will like­ly be more excit­ed to hit the trail than you. Most dog breeds will enjoy a jaunt in the woods, but some dogs have back­coun­try sur­vival in their blood. If you’re a hik­er of the avid vari­ety, you need to choose a dog that will be com­fort­able in the for­est and on moun­tain trails. You’ll need a dog with good recall (comes when called) so it won’t go chas­ing mad­ly off after a squir­rel, or worse, a moun­tain lion. Your dog needs to be strong and boast pow­er­ful endurance. Even the cli­mate and con­di­tions of your area deter­mine which breed is best.


Bernese Moun­tain Dog
These giants were bred to haul carts and be help­ful as work­ing dogs on a farm. They’re said to be capa­ble of pulling 10 times their body weight. If you like to car­ry a bunch of gear on your adven­tures, look no fur­ther than a Bernese. They are affec­tion­ate and intel­li­gent and come with a long silky coat to with­stand cold temperatures—perfect for high alti­tude conditions


Rhode­sian Ridgeback
This dog was orig­i­nal­ly bred to hunt lions in Africa. They are some­times referred to as the Navy SEALS of dogs, and can han­dle the rough­est of ter­rain with thick foot pads. They can also with­stand high tem­per­a­tures bet­ter than most oth­er breeds.


Aus­tralian Shepherd
Agili­ty, high-ener­gy, and unmatched obe­di­ence put Aus­tralian Shep­herds on a pin­na­cle above oth­er breeds. Herd­ing cat­tle is a tough job, espe­cial­ly in dis­agree­able weath­er and tough ter­rain. Steep inclines and long excur­sions will just be enter­tain­ing to this herd­ing creature.

Alaskan Malamute (2)

Alaskan Mala­mute
If tough, snowy ter­rain is your game, the Alaskan Mala­mute is your com­pan­ion. They are able to endure tem­per­a­tures 70 degrees below 0! Their huge paws act like snow­shoes while their sharp claws grip ice like ice axes. The Siber­ian Husky gets an hon­or­able men­tion here, but the Mala­mute is slight­ly larg­er and stronger.


The Vizs­la is a very active breed that is a super strong swim­mer. You need to be an active per­son to han­dle this breed or they will run you into the ground from exhaus­tion. If you can keep up with a Vizs­la, they will be right there by your side. Take a dog­gie coat if you end up in a cold place.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriev­er
These breeds love just to get out and play more than any­thing. They were orig­i­nal­ly bred to retrieve water­fowl for hunters, so bring a good stick or Fris­bee along your hike. Like the Vizs­la, the lab needs a lot of exer­cise or else he or she will gain weight quickly.

Portuguese Water Dog

Por­tuguese Water Dog
If hik­ing near water is your cup of tea, this is a dog for you. These canines herd­ed fish into nets, retrieved fishermen’s lures and tack­le, and trans­port­ed mes­sages between ships. They love being with­in sight of their owners.

What­ev­er dog breed you choose, be sure to check local laws and reg­u­la­tions about pets before head­ing to the trail.